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Student Code of Conduct

General Provisions


The Federal law known a the Family Educational Rightrs and Privacy Act (FERPA) protects the confidentiality of student records and specifies those limited situations in which information from educational records may be released without a student‘s prior consent. The law permits Elizabethtown College, in its sole discretion, to disclose information without a student‘s prior consent to parents or guardians of a financially dependent student (as defined by the Internal Revenue Service). If a student is not a financially dependent student and that student has not provided prior consent, the College is not permitted to disclose information, even to his/her parents. However, if the College has knowledge of a student experiencing (1) a life-threatening situation or serious illness including one that requires emergency hospitalization, or (2) an act of violence toward self or others or significant abuse of self or others, the Dean of Students or members of the Student Life staff may contact that student‘s parent or guardian with or without the student‘s prior consent.

Parents or guardians of any student under 21 years of age may be notified of the following situations with or without the student‘s prior consent:

  1. Alcohol or drug incident that results in emergency medical treatment;
  2. Alcohol or drug incident that results in police action;
  3. Violation of the College Alcohol/Drug Policy.

Whenever possible the Student Life staff discusses the implications of notification with the student before contacting the parent or guardian. Ideally, the student is encouraged to make the call and the Student Life Staff is available to assist with explanation of circumstances or to elaborate on pertinent college policy or practice.

The College may release publicly the name, nature of the violation and the sanction for any student who is found in violation of a College policy that is a “crime of violence,” including: arson, burglary, robbery, criminal homicide, sex offenses, assault, destruction/damage/vandalism of property and kidnapping/abduction. The College will release this information to the complainant in any of these offenses regardless of the outcome.


Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act (FERPA)

The 1974 Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, also known as the Buckley Amendment, is a federal law (20 U.S.C. 1232g) that protects the privacy of a student’s educational record (currently enrolled or formerly enrolled regardless of their age). FERPA applies to all educational institutions receiving funds from the United States Department of Education, from kindergarten through university level. The law grants four specific rights to students:

  • the right to see the information that Elizabethtown College has concerning the student
  • the right to seek to amendment to those records and in certain cases append a statement to the record
  • the right to consent to disclosure of his/her records
  • the right to file a complaint with the Department of Education Compliance Office in Washington DC.


Search of Student Residences and Personal Belongings

The College respects the privacy of the student at all times, but reserves the right to take necessary measures should there be a reason to believe that College policies have been violated or the safety and well-being of the campus community may be compromised. In most cases, prior to a search of the student’s residence, personal belongings, or registered vehicle, the College will seek cooperation from the student. However, in cases involving local law enforcement investigations or when the College must quickly and confidentially proceed with a search in order to protect the safety of others, the College reserves the right to search without the student’s prior consent.

Residence Access and Authorized Search

Authorized college officials may enter residences owned or leased by the College. These spaces include rooms in traditional residence halls, and the bedrooms and shared living spaces in college-owned and leased apartments and townhouses.  Student residences may also be entered for purposes of maintenance, repair, and routine/emergency health and safety/quality assurance inspections and in case of emergency.  

If there is a reasonable suspicion to believe that a student residence contains contraband items such as drugs, drug paraphernalia, weapons, firearms, and excessive quantities of alcohol such as kegs, party balls, etc., or any amount of alcohol in a residence where students are under the age of 21:

  1. College officials may enter a residence for a preliminary visual inspection that may, in turn, lead to a more thorough administrative search. Prohibited items may be seized by College officials and will not be returned to the owner.
  2. The Dean of Students or, in his/her absence, a designated Student Life administrator or member of Senior Staff, may authorize a thorough search of a student‘s residence.  The search will be conducted by a Campus Security Officer and witnessed by a member of the Residence Life professional staff. Prohibited items may be seized by Campus Security and will not be returned to the owner.

Whenever prohibited items are seized an official inventory will be prepared. A copy of the inventory will be available to the student for his/her review. A photo of each item may also be taken as further documentation of the search. Prohibited items will be disposed of according to the policies of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and Campus Security. Contraband such as drugs, drug paraphernalia, weapons, firearms and excessive quantities of alcohol will not be returned to the student.

Search of Personal Belongings

The College reserves the right to inspect any abandoned personal property found in public areas owned or leased by the College. For example, if an unattended backpack is found in the lobby of a residence hall, a Campus Security Officer may open the bag and inspect the contents. The College has the right to inspect personal belongings. Campus Security Officers may also inspect a student’s personal belongings if there is reason to believe that College policy has been violated or the safety and well-being of the college community may be compromised. For example, a student is involved in an alcohol policy incident and the responding personnel notice that the student’s backpack is wet and there is an odor of alcohol on the bag. In this case, the responding officer may inspect the contents of the backpack without the student’s consent.

Search of Registered Vehicles

The College reserves the right to inspect any vehicle registered with Campus Security if there is reason to believe that College policy has been violated or safety and well-being of the campus community may be compromised.

Managing Interpersonal Conflict

Students are encouraged to engage in respectful dialogue as a first step in resolving minor interpersonal disputes as opposed to seeking resolution through the formal student conduct process. Campus resources are available through the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities to assist students through mediation or facilitated dialogue.

Other General Provisions

The Dean of Students is responsible for the Student Code of Conduct and the student rights and responsibilities process and has the authority to intervene at any point in the process, as deemed necessary, to maintain the safety of individuals, to protect property, to assure continuation of the educational process and to preserve the integrity of the College.

The Dean of Students may develop policies for the administration of the conduct system and procedural rules for hearings that are consistent with provisions of the Student Code of Conduct. In general, the Director of Student Rights & Responsibilities and the Associate Dean of Students shall have responsibility for the operation of the student conduct process.

The College reserves the right to amend the Student Handbook or other current regulations as deemed necessary for the protection of property and/or the general welfare of the college community. Students will be notified through standard campus communications of any new rule or amendment of existing policy. The College Alcohol and Drug Policy will be reviewed on an annual basis by the Committee on Alcohol Regulations and Education (CARE).

Community members are encouraged to comment on the Student Code of Conduct or to make recommendations for its revision at the regular meetings of the Student Senate.

The Director of Student Rights & Responsibilities (DSRR) shall determine the composition of the Student Conduct Board and Appeal Board, and determine which Board and/or Student Conduct Administrator(s) shall be authorized to hear and decide upon outcomes for each matter.  All board members are expected to participate in annual professional development.

The Director of Student Rights or Responsibilities may be designated as arbitrator of disputes within the student community. All parties must agree to arbitration and to be bound by the decision with no right of appeal.

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